2020 was a year of massive change and adaptation. COVID-19 brought a whole new set of challenges and disruptions. These altered how people led their lives, interacted with each other, and also invested in businesses. Thailand was one of the earliest countries to take action. As of April 2021, there have been almost 44,000 reported cases, 26,000 of which have recovered, and only 104 deaths in total. The effective measures employed are due to stay in place until the country has vaccinated enough of its citizens.
Five tech startups in Thailand have seen the opportunities behind the health crisis and are emerging stronger than ever in this changing landscape. By utilising the Thailand startup ecosystem and adapting their business models or services, these companies continue to meet the needs of consumers during this pandemic.
Medical services – Doctor Raksa and Doctor A to Z
Several companies have been able to weather the pandemic thanks to the optimisation of medical services. They allowed the migration of medical services into the digital world, letting people take care of their health without exposing themselves to the virus. In Thailand, there are only 0.4 doctors per 1000 inhabitants. Emerging tech startups in Thailand offering online medical services to bridge this gap have a vast potential to grow.
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Founded in 2016, Doctor Raksa is the largest telemedicine company in Thailand, with around 400,000 registered users in 2020. It offers online consultations nationwide and has a roster of 700 doctors. With the acceleration of digitalisation, Raksa’s Chief Executive Office, Jaren Siew, says that the number of patients able to access telemedicine services would reach between five and ten million within the next three to five years. It also offers pharmaceutical services with one hour delivery in Bangkok and within two days nationwide.
Doctor A to Z is a healthcare portal founded by doctors with decades of experience. It provides access to many different services, with online consultations, bookings with specialised doctors, a hospital visit scheduler, and a medical tourism service being the main categories. It also specialises in providing cost-effective solutions to small and medium enterprises and partnered with Thailand’s Department of Consular Affairs, providing online consultations for Thai citizens living abroad.
Property management – Horganice
The online property management sector is on target to reach $23.6 billion USD by 2026 globally, and Horganice is fuelling this growth for Thailand. It offers property owners and managers a streamlined approach to financials by providing digital invoice creation, analytics services and a communication system between landlords and tenants, particularly helpful during lockdowns and movement restrictions. The startup received an undisclosed amount from KBank’s investment arm, Beacon Venture Capital, in a seed funding round in March 2019 and seeks to increase business owners’ long-term profitability by helping them with their business operations and reducing business costs.
eCommerce – N-Squared eCommerce
Governments have taken the appropriate measures to limit the movement of people all around the world. Citywide lockdowns, curfews and strict quarantines took a toll on the in-store retail sector. This resulted in an increased demand for eCommerce services, dominated by brands like Shopee and Lazada.
Thai tech startup N-Squared eCommerce was founded in 2015 to invigorate the potential of online brands by creating a custom-made approach to their sales and internet-based business plans. They are the online distributor and eCommerce provider to over 30 major brands, including Shell, Protex, Kleenex, Royal Canin, Colgate, Sennheiser, Bayer and Huawei. In December 2020, the company received an undisclosed amount in a series-A round from investors such as KKP Capital, Siam Alpha Equity (SAE), Chan Wanich Group, AHMP, and ECG-Research.
eLearning – Conicle
Another sector massively affected by COVID-19 was education. When the pandemic suddenly hit, every aspect of traditional learning was upended, with educators forced to digitalise their entire model in record time. Conicle, founded in 2014, has been providing educational services for companies in the human resource development scene to empower people by enabling the best learning environment. It has worked with brands like Makro, King Power, Tesco, Honda, and others over the years. In April 2020, the company received $900k USD in a pre-Series-A round from three big players in the ASEAN scene: Enterprise Resource Planning Company Humanica, Thai microfund 500 Tuk Tuks, and StormBreaker (also known as Disrupt Technology Venture), the first Edtech accelerator in Southeast Asia.
The recent wave of investment rounds in tech startups in Thailand is a clear signal that the country’s future lies in digital services. With the current online advances in eLearning, eCommerce, property management services and teledentistry, these five players in the Thailand startup ecosystem have been able to navigate the COVID-19 storm safely. The emerging tech startups Thailand is producing are world-class and will help keep investment flowing into the Southeast Asia region as the world continues to digitalise services.